ADL to Honor Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen at "Never Is Now" Summit on Anti-Semitism

Cohen will be recognized for his efforts to shine light on hatred through comedy

New York, NY, November 18, 2019 … Sacha Baron Cohen, the internationally renowned actor, comedian, screenwriter, director and producer whose films, television and sketches brilliantly use satire to expose racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, will receive the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) International Leadership Award, which pays tribute “to those exceptional individuals whose vision, imagination and creativity have left an indelible mark upon the global community.”

Baron Cohen will accept the award at ADL’s Never Is Now Summit on Anti-Semitism and Hate, Thursday, Nov. 21 in New York City.

Baron Cohen has used humor and satire to expose people’s inherent biases by depicting racists anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, Islamophobes and others as deeply flawed, ordinary people whose prejudices are, ultimately, laughable. As a celebrity and public figure, he’s not shied away from taking on tough subjects off-screen, having recently spoken out about the failure of social media companies to adequately address the rampant racism, anti-Semitism and hate on their platforms.

“Sacha’s fictional satirical characters have made us laugh at the kinds of hatred and prejudice that under normal circumstances would be no laughing matter,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “There’s many ways to combat prejudice, and anti-bias education, exposure and awareness are important tools. But there are other, more unorthodox ways to fight hate. Sacha’s hilarious characters fall into that latter category. They push envelopes. They cross boundaries. They evoke stereotypes and tropes, but for comedic effect. In the end they help to expose how common prejudices are in our society and our world.”

Baron Cohen is currently appearing in the critically acclaimed Netflix limited series “The Spy,” which tells the true story of Israeli espionage agent Eli Cohen.

Never Is Now is ADL’s annual summit on anti-Semitism and hate. As ADL’s signature annual event, it is at its core a one-day conference focused on understanding contemporary drivers and dynamics of anti-Semitism. The 2019 summit agenda features nationally and globally renowned experts on anti-Semitism and speakers on community-wide responses to hate.

Plenary panelists include Bari Weiss, op-ed staff editor and writer at The New York Times; Elan Carr, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism; Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani and Founder of Tent Partnership for Refugees, who will receive ADL’s 2019 Courage Against Hate Award; Eric K. Ward, longtime civil rights strategist and Executive Director of the Western States Center; and Bret Stephens, Op-Ed Columnist at the Times. The summit also will feature a panel discussion with Broadway creators, producers and actors who have taken themes of discrimination, bullying, bias and other forms of hate and turned them into teaching moments through their art.

Never Is Now is supported in part by financial contributions from Gary & Helene Wingens, Himan Brown Charitable Trust, the ADL Lewy Family Institute, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, and Salesforce, as well as in-kind support from Benenson Strategy Group, Jewish Week Media Group, Samsung Electronics and the USC Shoah Foundation.

Never Is Now will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 8:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. For more information visit www.NeverIsNow.org; media may RSVP by sending a request to adlmedia@adl.org

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.